Michael Hess

Michael Hess

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Updated On January 18, 2022

Michael Hess was a popular Irish-American lawyer, deputy chief legal counsel, and later chief legal counsel to the Republican National Committee.

Early Life and Childhood

Michael Hess was born Michael Anthony Hess on July 5, 1952, in Sean Ross Abbey Roscrea, County Tipperary, Ireland. H later moved to the United States and spent his childhood there. Therefore, he was Irish-American by nationality. Similarly, he followed Christianity and his birth sign was Cancer.

Talking about his family, he was born to his mother Philomena Lee while his father’s name is not known. Michale spent his early childhood in a convent, before being adopted by Marge and Doc Hess of St. Louis, Missouri.

After growing up, he went to Ireland to find his mother three times. However, he was unsuccessful each time and he never knew who his mother actually was.


Moving towards his educational background, Michale got his primary education in the convent. Later, he joined the University of Notre Dame in 1974 and graduated with a J.D. degree at George Washington University.


Michael Hess died on August 15, 1995, at the age of 43 years old. Likewise, he died of the complexities of AIDS.

Michael Hess

Caption: Michael’s mother at his death (source: Independent.ie)

Professional life

Michael Hess started his career as a lawyer. After working for years as a lawyer, he understood every legal thing and subsequently became deputy chief legal counsel to the Republican National Committee. Not only this, he eventually progressed as a chief legal counsel.

Moving on, he was also an important person in the redistricting battles of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Therefore, the government admired him for his honesty and pursuit of justice on this issue.

A film describing his adoption and his mother’s search for him was released in 2013. The movie “Philomena” was directed by Stephen Frears. Similarly, the film is based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” which starred Sean Mahon as Michael Hess, Judi Dench as his mother, and Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith.

Martin is the journalist who helped Philomena Lee identify her son. However, the film Philomena never went to the USA.  But the disclaimer at the conclusion of the movie makes it obvious that dramatic license was employed to give the true story more impact on audiences.

Michael Hess

Caption: A movie based on Michael’s life (source: Rotten Tomatoes)

Relationship Status

Michael Hess was married to Steve Dahllof. He married Steve 15 years of his death. Steve attributed the book titled “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” with “about a three out of 10, in terms of accuracy”, while the movie “Philomena”, “inaccuracy of spirit, is 10 out of 10.”


The activity of extorted adoptions by some religious authorities in Ireland and outside during the 1950s has increased considerable debate, and the Michael Hess case has additionally highlighted this. In fact, most of the paperwork reporting this program was later terminated and access to adoption archives has been cut off.

Body Measurements

Enhancing his body measurements, not much is available on the net. In fact, he was a tall and handsome guy. He had medium black hair with a couple of black eyes. Other than this, no information regarding his physical appearance is available.

Social Media and Net Worth

When it comes to his social media handles, Michael Hess didn’t have any social media handles. As he died in the 1990s, there were no social media sites then. Therefore, he never used any social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

He might have earned a decent amount of money throughout his career. As a deputy chief legal counsel, he might have earned a huge amount of wealth. However, he never revealed his wealth details to the media.